Salem Police Monitoring and Fining Loud Motorcycles

Police Chief Paul Tucker recently praised the new enforcement effort before City Council.

If you have spent a hefty sum to modify your motorcycle exhaust pipes to get that adrenalin-boosting noise when you take off from a stoplight, beware — the is listening.

“We go out once a week to an intersection like Derby Street. If we can hear a motorcycle several blocks away, it's too loud,” said police Lt. Robert Precszewski, who heads the department's traffic division.

As a result, the police are citing about 50 motorcycle owners a week for altering their exhaust pipes. The fines are $35 for the first offense, $75 for a second offense and $150 for a third offense.

Chief Paul Tucker recently praised the program before the City council as one of the new initiatives to reduce noise in the City.

A district court in Newburyport recently threw out some citations against motorcyclists for excessive noise because the officers did not use decibel meters to register specific noise violations. So now, the officers use their ears only to identify cycles that are probably using after-market exhaust pipes, Precszewski said.

If the officers can hear a motorcycle from blocks away, then they know it's too loud, and they can legally write a citation for a driver for altering their exhaust pipes, Precszewski explained.

In Massachusetts, it is illegal to alter muffler exhaust pipes. The state decibel limit for a stationary bike is 99 decibels (102 for bikes manufactured before 1996). Bikes in motion may not exceed 82 decibels at 45 miles per hour or less or 86 decibels at more than 45 miles per hour.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sets noise emissions standards for motorcycles at 80 decibels, which is 10 decibels louder than a car traveling at 40 miles per hour. All motorcycles are required to display two EPA labels — one on the chassis and one on the exhaust pipe.

Rinehart Racing, a major motorcyle muffler after market manufacturer even has a notice on its ebsite advising bike owners that “Rinehart Racing Exhaust systems are not legal for sale or use in states where emissions laws apply.”

The Salem police have long had a campaign against noisy motorcycles. The department issued a brochure three years ago that read: “We all know the mellow baritone exhaust sound for a motorcycle engine can be music to many riders' ears." But the brochure asked that motorcyclists keep the noise down by lowering the engine's RPMs inside the City limits.


What are your thoughts on this issue? This isn't the first time Salem Patch has reported on motorcycles — we were at the Halloween Witch Ride last October.

Bobby Caprarella July 08, 2011 at 08:03 PM
Jared Robinson July 08, 2011 at 09:03 PM
Your caps lock is on.
gerry alden July 08, 2013 at 11:03 PM
Rick Holtsclaw should sound in here. It is highly unlikely any of the 50 motorcyclists per week who are cited for Massachusetts General Law (MGL) Section 90, Section 16 will pay fines from convictions. It is very likely the Judge will order the Salem Chief to not write anymore tickets for Section 16 violations without sound tests. The Chief may be the person ending up paying a fine for non-compliance of the law, regardless of the overwhelming public support. The reason this attempt to enforce a noise control traffic code will fail the public is because MA law has placed the burden of proof on law enforcement to find "levels" instead of defining prohibited "Acts" to raise standard volumes on low-noise-exhaust-emission regulated products. Mass citizens must legislate to institutionalize the burden on the defendant to provide evidence their modifications have not allowed a standard volume rise to reverse a citation for obviously operating a low-noise-exhaust-emission regulated product with standard volumes raised as a result of any visually apparent noise control alteration. The Appendix A.3 Comparison Measurement procedure in the SAE Motorcycle Sound Measurement Enforcement Test will provide the preponderance of the evidence that a volume is/is not raised when two exhaust on a standard motorcycle is measured at any same rpm. No pre-set numerical decibel pass/fail value is used in Appendix A.3 Comparison Measurement. This type of simple, uncomplicated test to determine excessive noise operation, is vital for all the differently set total noise outputs across the original highway motorcycle products introduced into commerce meeting or exceeding EPA noise-compliance. This procedure allows any perceived use of excessive noise during enforcement efforts of a noise control law, to be used as reasonable cause to order an in-field examination, and the physical-visual evidence of the known properties of the devices can be used as reasonable doubt about the performance characteristics to cite a charge. The way the law is now written, the police may not charge for altering exhaust that leads to excessive noise levels, when no increase levels are determined by a certified testing procedure. A conviction may not be obtained if there is no evidence of the "levels" of excessive sound as a result of the original exhaust system modifications. This is why chasing "levels" fails enforcement efforts, and why finding illicit "Acts" to raise volumes is a pure way to deter this common behavior. If the author of this article did not make so many factual errors in explaining motorcycle noise control laws, and enforcement procedures, I would of taken his bait that Salem Police are serious about removing the din. This author is neither knowledgable or educated in this issue. Salem Police will not impact the excessive noise culture, with the tools they have at hand.
Larry Deal July 10, 2013 at 01:54 PM
The illicit acts that are the root cause of those ear splitting motorcycles that can be heard a block way is the use use of exhaust systems that are ineffective in preventing excessive and unusual exhaust noise. That is called "tampering", and that is illegal. That is what the Salem PD is targeting, and rightly so. That is what the loud pipe crowd and their apologists, the Massachusetts Motorcycle Association, is trying to prevent from being targeted, and wrongly so. The insistence by the motorcycle 'rights' organizations that tampering should not targeted for enforcement, but be permitted to continue unabated, and that the police be limited only to having to conduct sound testing after the fact as their only enforcement option, is a ploy to misdirect the state away from the root cause of the motorcycle noise problem and inhibit it's ability to effectively deal with the problem that the motorcycle community is causing. The motorcycle community blames everyone else but themselves when it come to the problem they are the cause of. They even admit it when they invoke the LPSL myth and claim it is their "right" to violate the laws, including the federal one they despise the most, in their obviously invalid and irrational attempt to justify their ear splitting noise and blatant disregard of the rule of law, not to mention the legitimate rights of the vast majority of the public, when they rumble into town and defiantly rap the throttles of their illegally equipped motorcycles. The state's public officials need to wake up to these facts and target the right bulls eye, and you need to wake them up and get them into action. If you don't, the motorcycle 'rights' lobby will keep them asleep and inert, and those illegal ear splitting loud pipes will be plaguing you indefinitely.
gerry alden July 11, 2013 at 03:25 PM
The root cause of this problem is not isolated to cycle enthusiasts enjoying customizations. The EPA, or better, those administrators and authors of the federal code, who created total sound limits, beyond what customers of these products wished for, are guilty as well. Our tort system for ease of lawsuit liability is to blame, because manufacturers purposely build a quieter product then needed to meet the federal standard to avoid large fines, recalls and lawsuits. The local jurisdictions lacking due diligence to create enforceable laws, and provide effective police tools and methods are as well to blame. The biggest culprit in my opinion is the anti-noise pressure group member, who lobbies for strict motorcycle noise control laws, while never having been a rider, or owned a bike, and after reading misinformation provided by NoiseOff and Richard Tur via online websites. (everything on the web is true right?), becomes the local noise control false prophet via a CALM website, gaining the ear of liberal press outlets, pushing codes that accelerate the issue instead of diminishing it (they also prohibit any voice that strongly offers viable solutions when that voice resists the hidden agenda to create a national "match-up" law). North Hampton NH and the new J-2825 law as a result of hasty action to avoid a "label match-up law state", is a great example. Now 100% of all NH defendants can claim significant noise level increases with their modifications without being found guilty. The lack of leadership from the federal gov. the AMA (afraid to distance themselves from its membership base), the local and state vehicle code administrators, and public safety officers is appalling. Yes, it is easy to blame the person who swaps out one device for the other, with the result of raising a standard volume and openly operate on a public way. But why do they need to do so, why can't the codes be easily followed, and why does enforcement look the other way. All of my examples are meaningful components to this complex issue. It will not, can not be resolved until the past wrongs are righted, and everyone works toward a viable solution. This is why my idea for Comparison Measurement is key to rid the din in our soundscape. Appendix A.3 of SAE J1287 is the core base to remove all of the obstacles in preventing excessive and unusual motorcycle noise . I am absolutely sure Richard Tur was 100% wrong in his assessment of this problem, and what it's solution is. His disciples are to blame for increasing the problem.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »